North Korea agrees to talks after US, South Korea postpone military drills

North Korea agrees to talks after US, South Korea postpone military drills

The following day, Seoul offered to Pyongyang holding a senior-level, inter-governmental dialogue on January 9 at the Peace House in the truce village of Panmunjom, which straddles the heavily guarded inter-Korean land border. Despite sudden progress toward such talks in recent days, President Trump appeared this week to mock North Korea's leader by tweeting that he has a "bigger and more powerful" nuclear button than dictator Kim Jong-un.

South Korean people walk next to advertisement of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at a station in Seoul on Friday.

Observers have been unsure whether the renewed talks, the first since late 2015, are reason for real hope or will collapse into further animosity after the Games.

North Korea first called on Wednesday afternoon and the countries' officials spoke for 20 minutes, mostly to ensure the communication system worked properly, according to South Korea's Ministry of Unification.

Kim also welcomed Seoul's support for his overtures, a North Korean official told state television. Pyongyang has long viewed such drills as practice for an invasion of North Korea.

Her statement comes after Trump took to Twitter Tuesday to respond to Kim's claim that he possesses a nuclear button on his desk.

"Does anybody really believe that talks and dialogue would be going on between North and South Korea right now if I wasn't firm, strong and willing to commit our total "might" against the North", Trump tweeted.

While it has in the past existed as a key way for the two sides to tamp down accidental flare-ups along the DMZ, the North reportedly stopped answering the line two years ago after South Korea closed what had been a joint North-South industrial complex in Kaesong - a town on the North Korean side of the divide.

"They can talk with whoever they want", she said about North Korea, but made the United States requirements clear. US officials had understood the South Korean military would be heavily committed to providing logistical support for the Games.

Trump, who has exchanged a series of threats and insults with the Pyongyang regime since a year ago, tweeted late Tuesday that he, too, has a "nuclear button" that is "much bigger and more powerful" than the one North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has. This time, South Korea asked whether they had any news.

Earlier this week, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said Washington had heard reports that Pyongyang might be preparing to fire another missile. Commercial satellite imagery suggested that North Korea was preparing for a rocket engine test at the Sohae launch facility in the country's northeast, the website 38 North reported Friday.

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